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Jimmy Butler breaks LeBron’s Heat triple-double record, as Miami holds off Lakers 113-107

Sun Sentinel logoSun Sentinel 1/24/2022 Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

It arguably could have been considered an epic troll when the Miami Heat rolled out their Golden Oldies senior dance troop during the third quarter of Sunday night’s 113-107 victory at FTX Arena.

Debatable was how many Los Angeles Lakers might have been older.

Then again, the ultimate troll might have come from Jimmy Butler, whose 20 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds gave him the Heat’s all-time lead in triple-doubles, with 10.

The player whose record he broke was there to witness it as a member of the opposition, with LeBron James again unable to lift the Lakers’ mismatched roster on a night Los Angeles fell to 23-24.

“I still think that’s remarkable,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of Butler setting the record early in his third season with the Heat compared to James’ four full seasons with the team. “And it just shows you his skill set, that he’s able to impact the game in so many different ways.”

The comparison, Butler said, was flattering.

“Anytime you’re compared to greatness like LeBron . . . you’ve done something right,” he said. “It says even more to my teammates, that they’ve looking out for me.”

Unable to complete a dramatic fourth-quarter comeback, with Anthony Davis unable to make it back for the game from his sprained left knee, the Lakers fell behind by 26 in the second quarter and found themselves unable to catch a Heat team as rich in depth Sunday as Butler was in statistics.

In addition to Butler’s performance, the Heat got 25 points from Duncan Robinson, 14 points and eight rebounds from Bam Adebayo, and just about something from the entire breadth of a nine-man rotation lacking Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herro.

Lowry missed his fourth consecutive game due to personal reasons, with Herro missing his third consecutive game in NBA health-and-safety protocols. Herro is expected back as soon as Wednesday night’s visit by the New York Knicks. Lowry is out indefinitely.

James led the Lakers with 33 points, with Russell Westbrook adding 24.

Of having to play an initial blowout until the final seconds, Spoelstra said the result remained satisfying.

“If you can always guarantee this,” he said, “where we’d be fully in control and then have to feel the stress and manage things in the fourth quarter, but we would still come out with a win, I’d take that a lot.”

Five Degrees of Heat from Sunday’s game:

1. Closing time: Up 89-70 at the start of the fourth quarter, the Heat saw that lead trimmed to 102-90 with 4:26 to play.


Video: LeBron James says he’s in one of the best offensive zones of his career (SMG)

From there, Carmelo Anthony drained a 3-pointer in transition with 3:23 left that trimmed the Lakers’ deficit to 104-96.

Later, James scored inside with 1:07 left to make it a four-point game, only to see Bradley charged with an offensive foul with 37.7 seconds to play.

A botched inbound play ultimately ended the Lakers’ hopes, with Caleb Martin coming up with a steal and a score.

“He’s a can of Red Bull,” Spoelstra said of Martin.

Said Butler, “We got stops when we needed to. First off, find a way to win. That’s a good lesson to take from any game.”

2. The complete Jimmy: Butler made an early statement about the completeness of his game, with seven assists, five rebounds and four assists in a first quarter that ended with the Heat up 39-25.

Butler was up to 10 assists, seven rebounds and six points at halftime, when the Heat led 69-52.

Butler set his career high of 15 rebounds in the Dec. 28 home victory over the Washington Wizards.

Butler reached his third triple-double of the season with his 10th rebound with 6:37 remaining.

“That’s my teammates,” he said. “They’re always looking out for me, want me to be great.”

3. Duncan brewing: Two nights after almost fueling a Heat fourth-quarter comeback from a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit with his 3-point shooting, Robinson picked up where he left off.

Robinson was 3 of 5 on 3-pointers in the first period and was up to 4 of 6 from beyond the arc by the intermission.

“That’s what we want,” Butler said. “We want guys to stay aggressive.”

Robinson closed 6 of 11 on 3-pointers, scoring a team-best nine points in the fourth quarter.

“We knew they were going to make a run,” Robinson said. “We were talking about that.”

4. Dedmon walking: Backup center Dewayne Dedmon provided instant energy upon entering midway through the first quarter, including a five-point possession in the period after he was the victim of Westbrook flagrant foul.

The foul came on what was a Dedmon 3-point play, with the Heat maintaining possession and Dedmon scoring again.

With Davis out, the Lakers went for a span with Stanley Johnson at center, before James took over in the middle.

“If I knew LeBron was going to play the five,” Spoelstra said with a laugh, “I would have done that a decade ago.”

5. LeBron Jam: Spoelstra was asked pregame to mention an underrated aspect of LeBron.

“I guess the only thing about it in our family right now is he’s our entertainment, probably a couple of nights a week for our two little boys, when we put on Space Jam,” Spoelstra said.

“My sons will actually see him in person for the first time. I also was aware of the reviews of the move and everything, but our family enjoys that movie.”

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